LONGVIEW, Wash. -- Oregon State University researchers say they have found traces of radioactive cesium from last year's Japanese nuclear reactor disaster in West Coast albacore tuna.
The researchers say the amount is far too small to harm people who eat the fish, and fishermen said they don't see any harm to the business.
“We're still processing new fish, but so far the radiation we're detecting is far below the level of concern for human safety,” said Delvan Neville, of the school's Radiation Health Physics program.
University and federal scientists collected and tested fish caught off the West Coast before and after the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami that caused a nuclear reactor to release radioactive material.
The OSU team's findings are in line with work by researchers in California, who announced in May that they had found traces of radioactive cesium in bluefin tuna caught off the southern coast.
The scientists were able to isolate the type of cesium created by nuclear reactors, and made comparisons with fish caught before and after the Fukushima nuclear complex disasaster.
Neville said the discovery of the cesium was more telling about previously unknown migration habits of tuna than it does a public health threat.